Teamwork – lessons from the Cricket World Cup!
Well, it has been some weekend. No, I’m not talking about Mothers’ Day, although it was very nice visiting Baddesley Clinton and enjoying all the wonderful daffodils. No, I am talking about watching a riveting Cricket World Cup Final and realising just how much it meant to the host nation India for their team to lift the trophy! To lift it for the nation – for all the millions and millions of fanatical, proud supporters.
This was passion. This was euphoria. The team of tough men hugging each other and not bothering to hide their tears of joy. They had done it together, as a team. They had done it for Sachin Tendulkar, their iconic batsman (it was his sixth World Cup!) But most of all, they had done it for the people of India.
Harbhajan Singh summed it up. In tears and hugging his team-mates , he said “This one is for the nation. Thank you very much, we love you. This cup is for the people. Love you India,” was all he could manage.
A typical comment on social media: “I am sure the scenes of this victory will pass my thoughts for as long as I live…..and will be in my mind in my last moments too! That’s what Indian cricket means to ardent fans like me!!!”
The whole country is still celebrating – and will do for weeks to come. Everyone feels part of the victory. Tendulkar declared that the team had won the title because of the best wishes of their countrymen. He said “It has not sunk in yet because we have not gone out and faced the public, all the Indian people. It is extremely important to understand their reaction,” Having enjoyed a lifetime of success and adulation, he announced “this is the ultimate achievement, ultimate thing which has brought smiles to all the Indians in the country and abroad”
The Times of India reported “It was the wildest Saturday night the country has seen. In cities across India, people danced in the streets, hugged strangers in joy, distributed sweets and waved the tricolour into the night in an unprecedented outpouring of emotion after Dhoni’s boys brought the World Cup home after 28 years. Downtown roads in all metros were clogged with revellers, many of them with faces painted in India colours. Young women danced on top of cars and auto-drivers offered free lifts to commuters as the cricket victory united the country in joy like nothing else can”
You may know I am a cricket lover! But you may be wondering – what has all this got to do with my personalisation blog?
In a word: co-production.
This struck me as a truly great example of co-production as not only the team members but the coach and support staff were feted and carried aloft and every player stated how they had only achieved this because of the support of the community.
Last week, I attended the Co-production Roadshow in Birmingham: Public services – users & professionals working together. It was the third of five similar events being held across the country and I really enjoyed it. The remaining two events are in Manchester and London in April and I would thoroughly recommend them to anyone who gets the chance to go.
The event was subtitled “Achieving more for more: what would public services look like if users and professionals worked together in equal and reciprocal relationships?” The “more for more” sounded a bit idealistic, but I liked the idea that resources are about a lot more than money. As a community, we all have a part to play in improving lives.
There was a real buzz at the event and an honesty about what was working and what was not. For example, a #hashtag had been allocated in advance and people were encouraged to tweet and contribute fully, starting off with an exercise where we all gave views on a wide range of co-production issues. But no-one had thought to ensure that the event was accessible. It took place in the prestigious Senate Chamber at Birmingham University on the first floor … but there was no lift. Hmmm!
It was an interesting experience for me personally. As I picked up tweets from others in the room, I realised how far I had come with social media in recent months. At the Local by Social event in Coventry in November 2010, I started tweeting and others in the room started following me live, but I wasn’t quite sure how. Now I have a Twitter app for my Blueberry too. One of the organisers from NESTA pursued me and insisted on a video interview because of the “sharpness” of my tweets. This was refreshing as clearly they didn’t mind me flagging up the issues as I saw them.
The content of the event was challenging and thought-provoking. You can’t co-produce everything, so work out what it is you can realistically co-produce – and then do it! Child abuse was given as an example – clearly safeguarding measures have to be devised without consulting the perpetrators. Similarly, it is no good involving people in deciding how best to spend a budget if you go bust in the meantime. Obvious, possibly slightly crass examples, but I liked the realism.
Many of the themes, however, struck strong chords with my core beliefs. You can only engage people if you listen and give them genuine opportunities to contribute on their own terms and in ways that make them feel comfortable.
There was a recognition of different contexts and starting points. Paul Sheehan, Chief Executive of Walsall Council, was very much in the “real world” as he declared “I have some teams who would walk on hot coals for their colleagues; and others who would light a fire under them”. It took me back. All those office politics – how I miss them (not!)
There were some really nitty gritty lessons, which I hope to return to in future blogs but a few of the most telling comments were:
- I came from a business background and couldn’t understand how the public sector provide services WITHOUT listening to the public
- “I get as much support as I need but no more” is genuine co-production
- A cancer patient had to buy ALL her own care , all her own drugs because she wanted one specific drug. There was no co-production there. She was on her own from that point
There was a lot of common sense at this event. Some people claimed that co-production was just the new buzz word. Someone, hearing a good practice example from several years ago, asked “Did you retro-fit it into co-production?” The reply was “We didn’t call it co-production, but people shared a vision for what needed to be done and made it happen”.
I liked that one.
Yes, I thought, let’s not get bogged down in yet more new jargon. I don’t suppose for a minute that the Indian cricket team and their coaches worried whether they were co-designing, co-assessing, co-producing, or co-anything else. They and the whole population of India shared a vision for what needed to be done – and made it happen!… Perhaps it will happen for England in the next World Cup…2015!
And where will personalisation of social care and health be by 2015? We need to work tirelessly to ensure that it is the norm, that services and informal support join up in a sensible way, and that we look back at the cancer drugs example with the same horror as we now view lives wasted in institutions.
We need a structure where people can do what they can for themselves and make their own choices, supported by family, friends or the wider community – and the state adds as necessary, rather than making obstacles or casting people out to cope on their own.